First: the Original Love program initially emerged as a corrective, in three ways.
Kensho is the gateway to the hinterlands of koan training, but is notoriously unpredictable. And there are other experiences that may be kin to kensho, yet are not it. It’s not impossible for a zen teacher to be eager to usher people into the koans, and end up doing so a bit prematurely. So let’s appreciate these other experiences and learn from them, without responding to them as if they were kensho.
- It’s possible to experience kensho, and enter koan training in earnest, yet still have other kinds of growth that need tending to. In fact, it’s very unlikely not to be that way.
- The word “awakening” gets used quite a lot these days. I wanted to clarify what zen means by it, and also clarify the lines between it and other positive experiences that could be categorized as somewhat self-transcendent, without being awakening as zen sees it. Yet they can be beautiful and valuable.
- On the basis of these and other factors, it seemed wise to lay out four “zones” of growth to which meditation practice is clearly pertinent. Three of them correspond to Bodhidharma’s “first entrance” to practice; and one, the fourth, Awakening, corresponds to his “second entrance.”
So Original Love can be seen either as an introductory program for meditators, or as an on-ramp toward beginning to sit with a koan, or else as a broadening of practice for people whose meditation experience has been relatively narrow.
Overall, it just hopes to help people heal and awaken in ways their heart needs to.
Message from Henry is from our February 7, 2022